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Stealth Moves: #33–The Toddler

For about two or three weeks, Lex very diligently practiced walking.  She spent hours doing laps around the apartment balancing, stepping, bending, and mainly traveling.  She only required one thing (well, two): each of my index fingers in each of her hands.  I’ll bet I could have logged two miles a day walking around in a one-half squat.  It’s only slightly more embarrassing to do at the playground; a cute baby takes the focus off the crazy lady walking around with her ass sticking out.  I don’t recommend doing this on a crowded sidewalk, however.

Stealth Moves: #6–The Fussy Baby

When Lex was very little (the whole first three months), she was pretty cranky.  Not too much so, but she let me know–clearly–when she was uncomfortable.  I quickly learned that motion was usually the thing that would calm baby, and even lull her to sleep.  In the first few weeks I spent hours pacing the apartment with a burrito-wrapped bundle bouncing around.  This turned into many sets of standing lunges, in all planes of motion; walking lunges, with and without twists; and squats-with twists, with kicks, with bounces.

Just like in the gym, I paid careful attention to my form: Feet parallel, knees stacked above feet; hips square, back straight; chest open, baby ‘weight’ secure and centered.  This is great for cardio as well.  After about five minutes of this I’m sucking wind.

Stealth Moves: #22–Laundry Time!

I was doing laundry the other day, and used the time to do a full lower body workout.  For each article of clothing I pulled out of the basket on the floor, I did a squat.  Or a dead-lift.  Lex was helping, too, and created many opportunities for deeper, lower squats.  Then when just socks were left, I would hold a T position until I found a matching pair and mated them. Granted, this makes laundry take about three times as long, but hey- everything takes about three times as long to do, so I can deal.  

Stealth Moves: #13–Bathroom Ab-solutions

Some days I miss out on the opportunity to luxuriate in my shower before starting our day of play dates and playground visits.  On those days, you’ll be no doubt relieved to know, I indulge in the minimum: Wash Your Face, Brush Your Teeth, Comb Your Hair.  I can get a whole 10 minutes of workout in during this time.

First, I have a ClairSonic facial brush, with a two minute timer on it.  So once I have the product on my face and the thing going, I do squats of some sort.  Then, while rinsing over the sink, I keep a straight back and hold a dead-lift for that time.

My electric toothbrush is also a handy timer.  It counts off 4 30 second intervals, perfect for balance training.  I started by standing on one foot, changing with each interval.  Changing how you hold the non-supporting leg and/or standing on an unsteady surface, like a folded towel or a piece of foam will increase the difficulty and challenge the core even more.

Finally, I admit I haven’t really found a good set to do while brushing my hair.  If it’s dry (which is usually the reason for the abbreviated ritual), it goes in a hair tie and we’re done.  If, however, I have to dry it, it’s about 5-6 minutes of shoulder work.  I do five shoulder presses with the dryer each time I change sections of hair.

Stealth Moves: #25–The Swinging Baby One-Arm Row

Lex loves to swing.  This is always a good thing and bad thing.  It does provide a bit of respite from chasing her all over the playground and greater known universe.  And she really loves it; so once she is comfortable in that seat, we can sometimes be there awhile.  So now I have several different sets to do while we’re there.

The Swinging Baby One-Arm Row utilizes the 25-lb weighted pendulum that is my sweet child in a swing.  In lunge position and finding the bottom of her arc, I do five reps on each side.  She thinks it’s really funny and I usually end up doing more sets than I want before she lets me stop.

If I’m really ambitious (and there’s not too many people around to watch the really weird mom exercising at the swing sets), I give Lex a really big swing with a one-arm row and then do lunges while her momentum slows.

Stealth Moves: #37–Picking Crap Up Off the Floor

I am constantly picking things up off the floor.  Lately this is because of my almost-two-year-old and all her toys strewn about; and if it isn’t her toy collection I’m scooping up, it is my husband’s and my clothes. So now, instead of just bending over, I do squats for each item or group of items within arm’s reach.  Or one-legged dead-lifts.  This morning I picked up Lex’s Alphabet (A-Z) and Numbers (1-20) bean bags that she tossed all over the living room at 02:00 this morning. And about a thousand of her books too.  This little chore got me 2 complete sets each of squats, lunges, and deadlifts.


It’s now 2.5 years later, and this remains one of my favorite stealth moves.  Lex now 4.5 and De-Lo will be 2 in four days.  The amount of crap to pick up has only increased exponentially, so besides the basic squats, lunges and deadlifts, I like to throw in a variety of planks.  Usually there are about a million little toy pieces within arm’s reach of each other, so I hold a plank right in the middle and reach around me.

Stealth Moves: #49–Happy Hour

This was one of my favorite bar games.  When Lex was a baby, Chico and I were on one of our usual Sunday afternoon dates at the Old Town Bar and as I was enjoyinga tasty, cold Sierra Nevada Pale Ale I realized I could get in a few sets of legs.  The trick was to do this without inviting strange looks from my fellow regulars at the bar.  I was already standing, so I started with a one-quarter squat.  I got half way through my pint (maybe three minutes?) and two conversation topics before Chico noticed I was shorter than usual.  By this time I was feeling a good burn in the glutes and quads.  I was wearing a two-month-old baby too so that’s about 12 pounds extra.  Next, I stood on one leg for as long as possible… but then I got a bit-shall we say- clumsy, so I figured that was enough of that.

Stealth Moves: #1–Numero Uno

This is my first Rule of The Stealth Workout: Stand Up Straight.  Attention to good posture is an excellent meditation, a great way to pass a few moments, even to recharge.  Get your body into proper alignment and immediately improve your breathing, balance, and mood.  At least for me.   And you’ll probably notice the world around you a little bit differently.  Maybe.

Stealth Moves: #45–Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

Scientists have a formula for figuring out just how much of our time is spent waiting in lines.  At the bank, the grocery store, the airport… I could go on.  Especially when I lived in NYC it seemed like I’d spend the day waiting… for my turn at something.  I started playing a game, doing a little meditation in these situations.  On the subway platform, at the bodega, in line at The Shake Shack, or anywhere I’m just waiting in one place, I do what I learned in tai chi called “stand like a tree.”  I focus on the breath and try to have perfectly balanced posture.  Weight evenly distributed front to back and side to side; shoulders relaxed and resting; head reaching upward; feet reaching into the ground.

These are great little moments to practice Stealth Move #1: El Numero Uno.